November 24, 2012

Lawrence Central Completes 15-0 Season, Wins First State Title in Class 5A
The No. 1-ranked Lawrence Central Bears wrapped up a season of decisive achievements with their 39-14 victory over second-ranked Fort Wayne Snider in the Class 5A championship game.

It marked the Bears’ first state title after they finished as Class 5A runner-up in 2010. Coach Jayson West’s Lawrence Central team also finished 15-0 for the first time in school history.

The Bears’ offense, often using its considerable speed to work the edges, rolled up 539 total yards for an average of 9.5 per play. Isaiah Townsend rushed for 193 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Drake Christen added 92 rushing yards with a TD and passed for 228 yards and a score.

A pair of teams averaging nearly 40 points apiece locked up in a defensive struggle in the early going. Lawrence Central carried a 14-7 lead into halftime on the strength of Christen’s 191 yards passing and 43 rushing.

Big defensive plays set the tone for Lawrence Central.  In the second quarter, James Jones forced a quarterback fumble, Derrick Dunlap recovered and the Bears capitalized with a quick touchdown for a 14-0 lead. Early in the third quarter, Delon Pettiford’s interception gave the Bears possession at midfield and Alex Rodriguez scored from the 2-yard line shortly thereafter, boosting his team to a 20-7 edge.

Lawrence Central’s defense continued to rise up, holding Snider to 96 rushing yards after the Panthers averaged 262.2 during the season. The Panthers had 301 total yards, well below their 404.9 average.

Snider, coached by Kurt Tippman, was playing in the Class 5A final for the first time since a 2004 runner-up finish.  The Panthers finished 14-1.

Je’Nori Smith topped Snider in rushing with 66 yards. Quarterback Brandon Phelps hit 19-of-32 passes for 194 yards and a TD. Addison Dellinger grabbed four passes for 98 yards while Quinton Daniels had seven catches for 49 yards.

Class 5A State Championship Record
Total Combined Offensive Yards: 840 yards by Lawrence Central (539) and Fort Wayne Snider (301), 2012.

Fort Wayne Snider’s Adam Whisler named Eskew Mental Attitude Award Winner
Adam Whisler of Fort Wayne Snider High School was selected by members of the IHSAA Executive Committee as this year’s winner of the Phil N. Eskew Mental Attitude Award in Class 5A Football.

The award, named in honor of the IHSAA’s third commissioner from 1962-76, is presented annually to a senior in each classification who best demonstrates excellence in mental attitude, scholarship, leadership and athletic ability.

With a 4.157 GPA, Whisler ranks 12th in his senior class of 480 students. He is a two year member of the National Honor Society, a member of the Snider Student Council and an Academic All-State selection by the Indiana Football Coaches Association.

He has earned two varsity letters in football, served as team captain this year and was named to the All-Summit Athletic Conference team. He wears jersey #1 for the Panthers which goes to the player with the best work ethic in the senior class. He also has participated on the Snider wrestling team.

Adam is the son of Alan and Laurie Whisler of Fort Wayne. He is currently undecided on his college plans but is interested in studying business or engineering.

Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance, the IHSAA’s corporate partner, presented a scholarship check for $1,000.00 to Snider High School in the name of Whisler.  Since 1989, more than $745,000 in college scholarships have been presented by Indiana Farm Bureau Insurance to deserving high school students in Indiana.

Lawrence Central Coach Jayson West
“Our guys had the confidence to bounce back after some big plays by Fort Wayne.  They are a big physical team and real well-coached.  We really overcame a lot, including the pressure we put on ourselves from just not getting off to a very good start.”

(Key’s to turning it around) “(QB) Drake (Christen) did a lot of that with just his pure talent, sometimes changing plays after the snap to take advantage of things he saw; going left when the play we called was designed to go right.”  (Do you wish he had more eligibility?) “He can stay as long as he wants (laughs), but I don’t think the rules go along with that.”

(On their defense) “We had some tough moments but are you kidding me? Holding Fort Wayne Snider to 14 points is an awesome job; it just doesn’t happen every day.  They have been running over people.  Really we just wanted to win by one and weren’t the least bit concerned with the final margin, but it was nice to get those couple of touchdowns late that let us breathe a little bit.”

(On Isaiah Townsend) “He had a big game and I was just happy to see him run fast again.  He’s been hobbled by an ankle for the last several weeks and this is the first time he’s really been full speed.” 

(In his fifth year as head coach, coming this far in a short amount of time) “Hey, it’s not me, it’s the kids. And the staff.  It’s my goal to be the worst coach on the staff and I’ve achieved that.  These guys are great coaches, great men, great people, and the kids have done everything we’ve asked.  We got beat by Carmel last year, and they were probably the best high school team I’ve ever seen, and except for a day here and there, we haven’t had a break.  The kids have worked hard, and this is what their effort paid off with.  It’s really kind of phenomenal what they’ve accomplished.

Fort Wayne Snider Coach Kurt Tippmann
“Lawrence Central did a great job. All the credit to them. Our kids fought hard but Lawrence Central deserves to be the state champions. We knew we would do the best we could, but we just made too many mistakes. We had our opportunities but we didn’t take advantage of them.”

“This is a great senior class. They will go down in Fort Wayne Snider history as one of the greatest in the program. We just didn’t get the final game done.”

“Our turnovers and Lawrence Central didn’t make too many mistakes. That was the difference in the ball game.”